How Can I Become a Real Estate Appraiser in Pennsylvania?

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Becoming a real estate appraiser in Pennsylvania can be a smart career move.

Since real estate appraisers work with all different kinds of people for different kinds of property, it’s a field that offers a lot of opportunity and differentiation depending on your interests and skills.

There are a few steps to becoming a real estate appraiser, so it takes time and dedication to get into this career. But, if you put in the time, you can be very successful.

Let us walk you through the process. At the end of this article, you will know everything you need to know about becoming a real estate appraiser in Pennsylvania.

Definition of a Real Estate Appraiser

What exactly is a real estate appraiser and how is it different from other real estate professions?

A real estate appraiser is someone who estimates the value of a single building or piece of land. Real estate appraisers are similar to assessors, but assessors estimate the value of multiple properties at once. Real estate appraisers can specialize in commercial or residential property.

Appraisers are called by anyone looking to get the property appraised to estimate the value of a property before it is sold, mortgaged, taxed, insured, or developed. Appraisers may be working with a family looking to buy a home, or a mortgage lender, or investors looking into real estate.

A real estate appraiser’s job is to look at the characteristics of a specific property and the characteristics of its location, and then make a fair and accurate estimate of the property’s value based on how it compares to comparable homes.

Interested in a career as a real estate agent?

Here are the 8 steps you need to take to get your Pennsylvania real estate license!

What Steps Do You Need to Take to Become a Real Estate Appraiser in Pennsylvania?

In order to become a real estate appraiser in Pennsylvania, you need to fulfill the education and work experience requirements. You are also required to register at the Pennsylvania State Board of Real Estate Appraisers. This board establishes the industry standard, regulates and issues the license for appraisers.

There are three license levels of appraisers in Pennsylvania:

  • Licensed Appraiser Trainee
  • Certified Residential Appraiser
  • Certified General Appraiser

The requirements for becoming a real estate appraiser vary depending on what level of appraiser you are. But to begin the process, you must start by being a licensed appraiser trainee and work up to a certified general appraiser.

Pennsylvania Licensed Appraiser Trainee

Steps to become a Pennsylvania licensed appraiser trainee:

  1. Take required real estate appraisal education
  2. Find a certified appraiser to be your supervisor
  3. Submit your application

A licensed appraiser trainee works directly under a certified appraiser. Some specific tasks of an appraiser trainee include:

  • Researching properties
  • Working on reports
  • Inspecting properties alongside the supervisor

Becoming a licensed appraiser trainee is really the first step into the world of real estate appraisal. You get to observe and learn as you go from your supervisor. This is your first step into the world of real estate appraisal.

The best thing to do at this stage is to observe the tactics and techniques of your supervisor and ask questions along the way so you can learn as you go.

Typically job requirements to be a licensed appraiser trainee is to be detail-oriented, organized, and possess good research skills. While a bachelor’s degree is not explicitly required, most candidates will have a college degree. It will also be required to have a college education if you would like to move up in this field.

You do need to complete 79 hours of qualifying appraisal-related education to become a Licensed Appraiser Trainee, and you also need to find a certified appraiser to be your supervisor.

Finding the right appraiser is similar to finding the right brokerage for a real estate agent, so make sure you ask them a lot of questions to see if it would be a good fit.

At this stage in your career, it is crucial to find a mentor that you respect and will be a good fit for you. Your supervisor can help start your appraisal career on the right foot and build a good foundation for the rest of your real estate dealings.

The last thing you need to do to become a licensed appraiser trainee is to start the registration process by submitting your application to the Pennsylvania Board of Real Estate Appraisers.

Pennsylvania Certified Residential Appraiser

Steps to become a certified Pennsylvania residential appraiser:

  1. Have over 1500 hours of appraisal experience over a period of 12 months
  2. Complete 200 hours of approved appraisal education
  3. Submit your application
  4. Take and pass the Certified Residential Appraiser Exam

Certified residential appraisers can legally appraise family properties with 1 to 4 residential units or any other kind of real property given that the transaction value is less than $250,000.

As a certified residential appraiser, you could be working independently or for an appraiser firm or financial institution.

If you work as an independent appraiser, you will be working as a fee-based appraiser, working with clients such as individual property owners, lenders, or banks who need property appraised. If this was the route you took, you would most likely spend your time doing research online, inspecting properties, and writing appraisal reports.

If you work at a specific firm or institution, you would most likely be working for a stable salary instead of relying on specific clients coming through to earn your income.

After gaining and completing your hours of experience and completing your appraisal education, it will be time to submit your application to the Pennsylvania Board of Real Estate Appraisers.

After your application is approved, you will be able to register for the certified residential appraiser exam. This exam is administered by PSI and will cost you $145. It is a 4-hour exam consisting of 125 questions. 110 of those questions are scored, and the other 15 are pretest questions. You need a score of 75 or higher to pass.

Once you pass your exam, you will be licensed to appraise residential real estate in the state of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Certified General Appraiser

Steps to becoming a certified Pennsylvania general appraiser:

  1. Complete 3,000 hours of valid appraisal experience over an 18 month period
  2. Complete 300 hours of approved appraisal education (hours from previous license can carry over)
  3. Submit your application
  4. Pass the Certified General Appraiser exam

Becoming a certified general appraiser is the highest level you can reach as a real estate appraiser. This license gives you an unlimited access pass to appraises and assessing all types of real estate properties.

But, with the freedom in your work comes great responsibility. You need to be extra careful, to be honest, and responsible in your appraisals to keep your clients and your business.

The typical annual salary for a certified general appraiser in Pennsylvania is between $85,000 and $114,000. But again, with that kind of a paycheck you are held to very great standards in the appraisal field.

As with the residential appraiser license, you will need to submit an application to the Pennsylvania Board of Real Estate Appraisers. Then, you will register for your general appraiser exam. Again, it will be administered through PSI and it will cost you $145.

This exam is 6 hours and also 110 scored questions, with a passing score of 75 or higher.